2014 Convention



Friday, January 6, 2012

Billy Martin's Cole All-Star Circus Kicks Off 75th Season

By: Dan Wells


SALAMANCA, N.Y. — Billy Martin's Cole All-Star Circus comes to the Seneca Allegany Community Center Wednesday night to kick off its 75th year.
This is the 35th year the Olean based circus has performed in Salamanca. Kids and parents filled the gym, buying popcorn and glowing toys.
The show features acts from all over the world, including a dog act from Chile. The ringmaster says the kids love the excitement of all the performers.
"They love Roger the acrobat on the trampoline – he's a real comedian. They love the Slinkoman the cirque-style act. The little girls love the daring young lady on the flying trapeze and the high school girls like our balancer from Reno, Nevada," said Billy Martin.
Upcoming Tour Dates: 1/5 Friendship, NY1/6 Savona, NY1/7 Naples, NY and Dansville, NY1/8 Newark, NY1/9 Ellicottville, NY1/10 Troupsburg, NY1/11 Whitesville, NY1/12 Portville, NY1/13 Medina, NY1/14 Perry, NY and Livonia, NY1/15 Wellsville, NY1/16 Franklinville, NY

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Become a kid again: The circus is coming to town

Here, have some cotton candy. The Gibsonton Showmens Circus is coming to town.

from: (Ruskin, FL)


Close your eyes; think back to your childhood and listen for a moment. Do you hear that? Yes, it’s the sound of your youth — a sound from a happy time when simple things like laughter and sunshine mattered the most. Can you hear the calliope? Can you smell the sawdust? Here, have some cotton candy…
On Saturday, January 7, the circus is coming to town. For the 28th year, the Gibsonton Showmen’s Circus will take place with three shows under the Big Top that will include one of the largest circus bands to be found in the world. It is an old-fashioned circus, without electronic special effects, but with real-time thrills.
“This is a year-long project,” said circus organizer and former International Independent Showmen’s Association president Lee Stevens. “This is our 28th year and we’re fortunate that most local merchants know us now. They are very accommodating when they see us coming with posters.”
This year, as with all past years, the Showmen’s Circus will donate all profits to charities — most of which are in this area but some are of national concern. Children in need have traditionally been a big focus.
“We have a committee of 24 people. We sit down and decide who needs what — maybe someone needs more this year than last year,” Steven said. “We’ve had years with 15, 16, 17 charities. Most of them are in the area.”
All of the performers, including Stevens as master of ceremonies, donate their time and talents to this circus. While virtually all performers want to take part, economics sometimes come first and that has made lining up acts an ever-present challenge. According to Stevens, however, this year’s circus will have an abundance of talent.
“The performers all really want to be in the show, but this time of year there are a lot of holiday shows and they have to make a living,” Stevens said. “This year there will be a lot of young people, so there will be a lot of second, third and fourth generation kids that are continuing on with their family’s traditions. They are still in the business. We have an abundance of acts this year, which is great. We have lots of animals, pony rides and a midway for kids of all ages. We’ll also have the circus models here, which is really neat — it is amazing to see.”
According to Stevens, the circus also involves an “army of back people” working in the parking lot, selling tickets and even making cotton candy. Few people can appreciate how many people and how much work is involved in organizing such a large-scale event and that, he said, is exactly how it should be. People come to the circus to have a good time.
When he walks out to open the circus on Saturday, Stevens is looking forward most to two things: seeing the kids in the audience and seeing people who have come from Sun City Center.
“The people in Sun City Center…I always start the show asking them to raise their hands,” he said. “They come here and feel like they are 10 years old again. They love the tents and the seats and the smells. They are so much fun to have here. It is wonderful.”
The march of progress has changed everything in America and around the world, and the circus is no exception. Even Gibsonton, formerly almost exclusively the winter home of circus performers, has changed. Once the town of giants and little people (the post office was once the only office in America with a counter tailored for dwarves), it is becoming more suburban as the years pass, although happy and unexpected sights still can lurk around any corner.
“It’s kind of bittersweet — there were a lot of circus people in Gibsonton at one time but many of them have passed away,” Stevens said. “Times change and it is a very hard business — and there are more and more rules and regulations. You have to be pretty self-reliant.”
But for those who remain, there are rewards that cannot be counted exclusively in terms of dollars and cents. Stevens is excited about having younger people take part in this year’s circus because he knows all too well the talent and dedication they have to their work and to their families.
“The young people are really impressive,” he said. “The education they have, with a sense of worth and self assurance that a lot of kids don’t grow up with. For most people, if you have both parents working, kids go to daycare or after school programs. The circus is just the opposite — you are together 24 hours a day. The kids work with their parents. And a lot of them are accustomed to walking out in front of 20,000 people to perform.”
The Gibsonton Showmen’s Circus isn’t mere virtual reality — it is the real thing, including chills, thrills and laughter, all playing out just feet away from where you sit. As the aerial ballet artists soar above you, the clowns will make you laugh, while the circus band brings forth the sound of youth. Reach down to touch the sawdust, have some cotton candy and for a few hours, simply enjoy being a kid again. Arrive an hour early to enjoy the midway with rides for children, a petting zoo, and plenty of food (including cotton candy, of course), along with the large and amazing display of circus models. There is something for everyone, of every age — the circus is just magic that way.
The Gibsonton Showmen’s Circus will take place on January 7 with three shows beginning at 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Advance tickets are available at the Paradise Pet Salon in Riverview, The Observer News office in Ruskin, Fish 4 U in Gibsonton and the Showmen’s Club in Gibsonton. Free tickets for kids under 12 are available in this edition of The Observer News, SCC Observer and Riverview Current, the Great Wall Chinese restaurant in Ruskin as well as at all merchants listed above and other local businesses.
The midway opens one hour before show times. The circus will take place at the Showmen’s Club at 6919 Riverview Drive in Gibsonton. For further information, call 813-677-3590.

Funny Farm - The Bello Nock Interview

Uploaded by HowBoutJoey on Jan 4, 2012

Exclusive interview with Bello Nock..."America's Best Clown" -TIME Magazine.

Cirque Du Soleil Return With 'Totem'

Published on Jan 4, 2012 by AssociatedPress

The director of Cirque Du Soleil, Tim Smith, talks about the exciting developments in their latest show 'Totem,' which is returning to London's Royal Albert Hall. (Jan. 4)


Uploaded by stleonm on Jan 4, 2012
Local acrobats soar in circus competition

Stirring display: A Vietnamese hoop performance combined with belly dancing won Supporting Prize and wowed the audience at the second Indochina Circus Talent Competition held in Vientiane, Laos. — VNS Photo Hoang Minh Khanh from:
January, 05 2012
HA NOI — Vietnamese circus artists returned from the second Indochina Circus Talent Competition with eight prizes, including the top prize for an acrobatic performance named Ngay Hoi Tay Nguyen, or Central Highlands Festival. The Vietnamese troupe presented six performances in the competition, which was organised at the Lao National Circus in Vientiane with the participation of hundreds of artists from Viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia.
The competition, which ended last week, was held for the first time in Ha Noi last year.
Artists competed in various performances including fire hoop spinning, juggling, women's double trapeze male and female lifting and somersaulting on a suspended net.
The event aimed to develop the talent of young circus performers, provide them with opportunities to learn and share experiences with each other and improve their skills to international levels, said Hoang Minh Khanh, principal of the Viet Nam Circus and Variety Arts College.
The performance of Vietnamese artists who combined belly dancing and a hoop performance received a stirring reaction from the crowd, and won Supporting Prize.
The idea for the performance came from Khanh, who also directed the performance with belly dancer Van Anh.
"The audience even made us perform it twice. The Vietnamese artists expressed their ability, creation and passion that won over both the jury board and the audience," Khanh said.
"After the success of the performance, I will co-operate with dancer Van Anh to develop more circus acts combined with belly dancing to perform for the public," he said. — VNS

Ringling Bros. Presents DRAGONS - Hatching Something Big pt.2

Uploaded by ringlingbros on Jan 3, 2012

For the first time in circus history, myth and majesty will share the arena during this must-see family event that can only be witnessed at The Greatest Show On Earth®!

Experience circus spectacles so incredible that once again you will believe in the unbelievable! Dragon tribes from the far reaches of the earth are brought together in a single performance, displaying their breathtaking skills in a circus tournament of champions. Each tribe must prove that they have virtues of Courage, Strength, Wisdom and Heart to arouse dragons which appear right before your very eyes! Don't miss this once-in-a-lifetime family event when The Greatest Show On Earth brings the world together... to bring your family together!
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Circus Presents Dragons (SM)

RINGLING BROS. DRAGONS NATIONAL TOUR Ringling Bros. Presents DRAGONS with Big Cat Presenter Alexander Lacey launches 90 City US National Tour. (PRNewsFoto/Ringling Bros.)

VIENNA, Va., Jan. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Circus launches an all-new production, Dragons, on January 4, 2012, for a 90-city US tour. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents Dragons(SM) is a once in a millennium event that honors The Year of the Dragon. Circus performers from the farthest reaches of the earth have assembled for Ringling Bros. Presents Dragons to showcase their astounding acts of bravery and astonishing athleticism. Ringling Bros.® Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson presides over this fantastical celebratory tournament of circus champions that brings together mystic dragon lore with authentic circus feats. Dragons is a never-before-seen blend of renowned spiritual and real life legends that can be found only at The Greatest Show On Earth! ®

The anticipation builds throughout Ringling Bros. Presents Dragons as Children of All Ages® bear witness to one phenomenal Ringling Bros. circus act after another, from Shaolin Kung Fu Warriors, charging Cossack riders, magnificent Asian elephants, fierce tigers to the frenzied Globe of Steel. As the audience observes these and even more real world displays that pay tribute to the dragon, their continued excitement will bring glimpses of the elusive beast. But, the big question remains; what will it take to lure a true dragon from its golden lair?
Ringling Bros. Presents Dragons opens with the All-Access Preshow® available to all ticket holders. Families can join Preshow Host Andre McClain and participate in interactive experiences such as learning juggling and balancing skills, get performer autographs, see one of Ringling Bros. majestic Asian elephant's paint a one-of-a-kind masterpiece and meet the Ringling Bros. Clowns, whose side-splitting spoofs, absurd antics and comical parody are guaranteed to keep audiences roaring with laughter!
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey searched far and wide, from north to south and east to west, to bring audiences spellbinding acts, including:read more at:

A Family Affair: Raising kids in the circus

The Urias Family perform in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey show "Barnum Bash" this weekend at Germain Arena in Estero. / Special to SW FL Parent & Child

Written byPamela Smith Hayford

SW FL Parent & Child

Jan. 4, 2012

Jodie and Melvin Urias are typical parents who value education and strive to raise their two children to be well-rounded, respectful adults. The Sarasota parents also happen to work inside a giant steel ball with noisy motorcycles racing around.Melvin Urias is a fourth-generation circus performer. His great grandfather invented the original globe of steel in 1912. Jodie Urias joined the circus when she was 19. The accomplished aerialist now performs with husband Erwin, his brother Melvin Urias and Melvin’s girlfriend, Olga Surnina, in the Motorcycle Globe with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey show, which is at Germain Arena in Estero this weekend.

The Urias’s two children—11-year-old Geovi and 7-year-old Alyssa—travel with their parents and receive their education on the road. “PE, it could be globe practice,” says Jodie Urias. “We do stretching and gymnastics… I’ll teach the kids aerial work.”The kids practice two hours a day. They aren’t performing in the show yet; Mom and Dad want them to enjoy it, not feel like they must follow in their parents’ footsteps.“I don’t want them to be pushed away from it,” Jodie Urias says.Geovi rode his first motorcycle when he was 8. It terrified his mother, even with lots of protective gear.“When my son first started practicing, I was a basket case,” Jodie Urias says. “I was shaking. I didn’t let my kids see it, but I was shaking.”Melvin Urias wasn’t worried, though. He had started riding motorcycles at a younger age than his son.“I was happy. I was all gung ho for it. I was like, ‘Alright, I get to ride bikes with my son.’”But the Urias’s swore they wouldn’t push their kids toward performing.“We didn’t allow him to work on it until he expressed a valid interest,” Jodie Urias says of the motorcycle riding. “We just waited until he was ready and we also waited until we were ready.”Alyssa used to want to perform in the globe, but now her interests have turned to the “pretty kind of stuff that you see in the circus,” Jodie Urias says.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Gibsonton charity circus opens Saturday

"Lamont the Human Volcano" thrills the crowd with his fire-eating show at the recent Gibsonton Showmen's Charity Circus.By TBO.COM Published: January 02, 2012

GIBSONTON -- It's not the greatest show on earth, but to Gibsonton residents it might as well be.
The Gibsonton Showmen's Charity Circus is an annual tradition.
"People who came here 20 or more years ago now bring their children or grandchildren," said Lee Stevens, chairman of the show for the past 16 years. "There are only a handful of under-tent circuses left in the country and this is the only one in southern Hillsborough County."
It's not only the clowns, animals, aerialists and genuine circus band that draw folks to the event, Stevens said.
"It's special because the entire show is live, in a very intimate setting. Every seat is good because no one is more than 60 feet from the ring. Everything is up close and that makes the experience personal."
The International Independent Showmen's Association in Gibsonton sponsors the charity circus, now in its 30th year. Performers come from throughout Florida to volunteer their time and talents.
Proceeds mostly go to charities.
This year's performances will be at 1, 4 and 7 p.m. on Saturday at the International Independent Showmen's Association, 6915 Riverview Drive, Gibsonton.
Visitors can come one hour before each show to visit the midway, which will feature side-show acts, bounce houses, animal rides, a petting zoo, a model circus display and more.
Adult admission is $10 in advance or $12 at the gate. Children 12 and under are admitted free with a paying adult. For information, call (813) 677-3590.


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Ringling Bros Presents DRAGONS - Behind The Scenes with the Elephants of the Wisdom Tribe

Uploaded by ringlingbros on Jan 1, 2012

For the first time in circus history, myth and majesty will share the arena during this must-see family event that can only be witnessed at The Greatest Show On Earth®!

Experience circus spectacles so incredible that once again you will believe in the unbelievable! Dragon tribes from the far reaches of the earth are brought together in a single performance, displaying their breathtaking skills in a circus tournament of champions. Each tribe must prove that they have virtues of Courage, Strength, Wisdom and Heart to arouse dragons which appear right before your very eyes! Don't miss this once-in-a-lifetime family event when The Greatest Show On Earth brings the world together... to bring your family together!

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Ringling Bros. Presents DRAGONS - Hatching Something Big pt. 1

Uploaded by ringlingbros on Dec 29, 2011

For the first time in circus history, myth and majesty will share the arena during this must-see family event that can only be witnessed at The Greatest Show On Earth®!

Experience circus spectacles so incredible that once again you will believe in the unbelievable! Dragon tribes from the far reaches of the earth are brought together in a single performance, displaying their breathtaking skills in a circus tournament of champions. Each tribe must prove that they have virtues of Courage, Strength, Wisdom and Heart to arouse dragons which appear right before your very eyes! Don't miss this once-in-a-lifetime family event when The Greatest Show On Earth brings the world together... to bring your family together!


Sells & Gray was one of three shows operated by

The Acme Circus Operating Company.

the other two were Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros and KING BROS.

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Hope you are on the mend and that you have a bright New Year!

Here is the last of the Sells and Gray 1960's circus slides I found.

Happy New Year, RJ Reynolds

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Face Time: Big Top bash

It was "Happily Ever After" at the annual Circus Juventas gala.
Article by: Story and photos by Sara Glassman , Star Tribune

Updated: December 31, 2011

Great news for Twin Cities parents: Your kids no longer have to run away to join the circus, because they can join one much closer to home -- Circus Juventas.
For 17 years, the St. Paul-based school has been teaching everything from tightrope walking to tumbling. For the annual gala at Circus Juventas' own Big Top in St. Paul, students performed acts from their popular fairytale-based show "Grimm: Happily Ever After."
Founders Betty and Dan Butler met in a youth circus in Florida as teenagers and fell in love "under the Big Top," Betty said. They dated through high school and married in 1980. Since neither was from a circus family, they followed more traditional career paths. In 1994, they returned to the site of their young romance to be part of a "has-beens show."
"We got back into shape and just had so much fun, not just from going back to support the circus, but remembering what it meant to us as kids," Dan said.
So they decided to bring a slice of circus life back to Minnesota. From 30 students and a few classes a week, the school grew to 100 students in the first year. They opened the permanent Big Top in St. Paul in 2001.
Now the school offers everything from trapeze to trampoline to juggling for students as old as 21.
"It's a unique way to combine arts and athletics," Betty said.
"At Circus Juventas, there are 25 different disciplines; we have something for everybody," Dan said, adding that it really boils down to building self-esteem for kids in a noncompetitive environment.
That certainly seemed to be the case with the gravity-defying performers.
"I feel more comfortable in the air than on the ground," Nikita Salovich said. "It's expressive."
No wonder so many ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages are eager to step right up and watch them.SEE MORE AT:

Time is running out to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses

By Ted Jeory

Sunday January 1,2012

TIME is running out to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses, a senior Tory warned last night.Mark Pritchard, secretary of the party’s 1922 Committee, said a court decision in Europe had undermined one of the key arguments used by the Government when it rejected a Commons vote for a ban last summer.
The influential MP said the issue had become so serious that it would affect the reputation of the Coalition.
He said: “The Government is rapidly running out of excuses not to implement a ban.
“If they choose to ignore the will of Parliament it will signal the end of the ‘new politics’ the Coalition trumpeted when it came to power.”
Mr Pritchard’s warning came after 14 Austrian judges rejected an appeal by a German circus, which had complained that a ban on using wild animals in Austria was unlawful. The case, brought by Munich’s Circus Krone, had been an important part of the argument used by the Government to reject a Commons vote in favour of a ban last summer.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs had argued that a successful challenge in Austria could have implications for any law in ­Britain.
At the time, legal experts had doubts about Defra’s argument. The decision by Austria’s highest court 11 days ago, when judges declared animal welfare issues were of “significant public interest”, has reopened the debate.
Yesterday Defra said it would study the ruling and pointed out that an appeal by Circus Krone was still possible. It said it had not ruled out a ban but would press ahead with its preferred alternative, a “robust” licensing regime.
Labour said it would demand that Animal Welfare Minister Jim Paice should explain Defra’s position at Commons Questions on January 16.
Shadow Environment Minister Gavin Shuker said: “Now that the Austrian court has thrown this case out, ministers should listen to the overwhelming voice of Parliament and the public and get on with bringing in a ban as soon as possible.”
Two animal welfare groups, the Captive Animals’ Protection Society and the Born Free Foundation, are threatening to launch a judicial review of the Government’s stance.
Last June MPs from all parties ­demanded legislation for a ban within a year after a public outcry over the use of elephants, tigers and other wild animals in British circuses.
After undercover footage showed Anne, an elderly elephant at the Bobby Roberts Circus, being beaten by a worker, the Sunday Express revealed in April that Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman had said she was “minded” to implement a ban.
However, days later she performed her own U-turn after pressure from Downing Street. Her department said a ban would be fraught with legal ­difficulties.

Life In Circus Olympia

Uploaded by Leadertv on Oct 6, 2011

Take a behind the scenes look into Circus Olympia, a travelling family circus.

Some of the acts include feats of human strength, highwire gymnastics and trained farm yard animal stunts.

Photographed and produced by Jason Edwards for Leader Newspapers.
On the road with Circus Olympia

Circus Olympia travels around Melbourne bringing live entertainment to local communities. Leader photographer Jason Edwards spent time getting to know the people inside the big top. from:

1 Jan 12

By Jason Edwards

YOU know they have done it a hundred times before, but watching grandfather Serik Abishev, 61, aka Serge the Clown, climb a pole while balancing his daughter Aliya on his forehead 5m above the ground, you can’t help but hold your breath.
Watching live, you can really sense the danger: one mistake and it’s a bone-breaking fall to the arena floor.
Circus Olympia is on a constant tour of Melbourne, including Nillumbik and rural centres, giving the few remaining fans the chance to see what was once one of the greatest forms of entertainment.
Deon Gasser, a third-generation performer, said while the performers were as talented as ever, there were more entertainment options available to the public.
“People aren’t really into the circus any more, with video games and stuff; it’s not that important to people, that live entertainment,” Dion, 16, said.
He grew up in the circus, but struggles to see a future for himself.
“When you run away to the circus, it’s kinda the opposite for me,” Dion said.
“I want to run away to life.”
Aliya, who closes Circus Olympia’s shows with her father Serik and daughter Isabella, 5, in their high-wire finale, said she hoped to be performing for a long time to come.
“You feel good every time the curtains go up and you forget everything that goes on behind,” Aliya said.
Her father, who has been performing for more than 40 years, speaks only Russian, which Aliya translates.
“He feels reborn again,” Aliya said.
“He is proud and it’s very rare when you have a grandfather working with a daughter and granddaughter in the same act.”
When asked how long her father hoped to perform, Aliya translated: “How long is life?”
“We don’t talk about it like it’s our job,” Aliya said.
“Everything has its ups and downs and you get hurt some times, but we enjoy what we do.”
Little Isabella summed up the family’s passion and commitment: “Circus is life”read and see more at:

Judge Puts Activists' Circus Protest on Ice

Thursday, December 29, 2011



PHILADELPHIA (CN) - The operator of the Wells Fargo Center can prevent protesters from demonstrating in a nearby parking lot, a federal judge ruled, dashing the dreams of an activist who wanted to protest the circus by donning an elephant suit. Marianne Bessey and Edward Coffin say they "object to the cruel mistreatment of animals by the Ringling Bros. Circus" and want to set up tables with televisions and literature to protest that alleged mistreatment when the circus's parent company, Feld Entertainment, hosts events at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. With Feld's Disney on Ice slated to take the stage in December, Bessey and Coffin filed suit against Spectrum Arena LP (SALP), which operates the stadium. The activists sought an injunction to overcome Spectrum's rules against unauthorized leafleting and picketing at the center. In addition to leafleting and holding banners, at least one of the plaintiffs "may dress as an elephant or other circus animal," according to the November complaint. The lawsuit notes that Philadelphia owns the center and the underlying property, which Spectrum merely subleases from the Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development, a municipal entity charged with managing city-owned property. Philadelphia benefits from the amusement tax levied on each ticket Spectrum sells, and its revenues pay for city property maintenance, the protesters argued. They also claimed that the city exempts Spectrum from property taxes because it leases public property for public purposes. U.S. District Judge Petrese Tucker refused to issue the injunction last week. "SALP is not a state actor," Tucker wrote. "Plaintiffs are not likely to succeed on their claim that SALP's ban violates plaintiffs' First Amendment rights." The 11-page decision acknowledges that Spectrum sublets city-owned property pursuant to a 29-year-lease; that roughly $25 million in city and state funds went towards the center's $220 million price tag; and that the lease comes with a host of city-dictated stipulations about how Spectrum should run the arena. But those facts are insufficient to prove that Spectrum operates the center as a state actor, the judge found. These facts, "neither standing alone, nor when considered in total, create a symbiotic relationship between the city and SALP, or pervasively entwine the government in the operation of the center," Tucker wrote. "First Amendment rights, like most federal constitutional rights, are secured only against infringement by state action," she added. "While professional sports, concerts and other entertainment events enhance the cultural and civic life of a community, providing these services is not the exclusive province of the state and, in fact, is not a governmental function," the judge wrote. Even if Spectrum were considered a state actor, Tucker said the arena is not a public forum. "The Third Circuit has made clear that sports arenas are not public forums and, therefore, content neutral bans of protest activities are appropriate even at government owned facilities," the opinion states. "Protesting inside the parking lot and sidewalks of the center would disrupt the follow [sic] of traffic and possibly lead to confusion and confrontation amongst the Patrons," Tucker wrote. Spectrum's ban is a content-neutral, "legitimate means to preserve the intended use of the center," according to the court, which added that the policy also survives state constitutional scrutiny.
Unnamed circus-train fire victims get new headstone

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Patti Morgan replays one sentence from an Associated Press story in an 1884 publication of the New York Times over and over in her mind.
“The odor of the roasting flesh and the distant cry of the coyote added to the general horror,” the story read. “The voices of the dying grew fainter and soon ceased.”
The story was about 10 men who were employees of Orton’s Anglo-American Circus Show. In 1884, they were on their way to a show in Golden when the train they were on caught fire near Greeley, burning them alive and injuring dozens of others.
According to a coroner’s report, 60 men were crowed in one railroad car that was also carrying two barrels of gasoline. The report said a torch used to light the car ignited the gas. Luggage blocked one end of the car and the fire blocked the other, leaving only a small window to escape through.
After the accident, the circus continued on its way and the victims were buried in a mass grave.
The image that one sentence conjures up is terrifying, Morgan said, but the idea of those men being buried in the same grave has left her with nightmares.
“It just messed with my head,” Morgan said. “It was the saddest thing I’d ever heard.”
Then she learned the men were never identified. It made it even worse for the 33-year-old Greeley woman.
“It was a very haunting thing to think of 10 men buried together,” Morgan said. “They burned together. They were literally thrown away. The circus just threw them away.”
Morgan first learned of the accident earlier this year when she bought a ceramic bowl from Goodwill that was wrapped in newspaper. When she got home she was looking at the newspaper and read a story by retired Tribune reporter Mike Peters about the number of unmarked graves at Linn Grove Cemetery. Again, one sentence stood out and replayed in her mind.
“The most famous of the unknowns were 10 circus workers who died in a circus train fire in Weld County in 1884,” the story read. read more at: